Initiative 175

Green, together

On 1 September 2013, the Bank reached a significant milestone:175 years of uninterrupted existence. Echoing its 150th anniversary, when the Bank offered a gift to its depositors in the form of an option to convert an interest premium into bank shares, MCB has again offered another gift for its birthday, this time to the nation as a whole. Launched by a press conference on 6 March 2009, Initiative 175 has endeavoured to originate concerted, sustained and multiple actions in favour of energy saving, renewable energy production and the environment - all to the benefit of the island and its population. The Bank has thus articulated initiatives for and by its employees, its customers and, more widely, the general public.

A better, greener world

Whilst positioning itself as a 'sustainable organisation', the MCB has remained committed to further its contribution to socially responsible development and to promote its environmental stewardship. The aim is to foster the welfare of society in line with one of the missions of the Group namely: 'We will do what we can to make the world a better, greener place.' 
Over time, the MCB Group unleashed a wide range of initiatives to fulfil its corporate social responsibility, with interventions of recent years being largely shaped by the guidelines set by the Government as per its National CSR Programme and by the internally-generated 'Initiative 175'. 
In this respect, apart from specific micro-level initiatives highlighted later on in this section, the MCB has transformed its pledges in favour of sustainable development into prominent accomplishments such as the recent completion of our eco-friendly and energy-efficient building in the vicinity of the EbèneCybercity, which qualified – for the first time in Mauritius and the Southern Hemisphere – for the BREEAM certification. 
In collaboration with Agence Française de Développement, the MCB offers 'Green Loan' facilities to help firms save energy and reduce carbon emissions, with more than 75 companies and individuals having, to date, benefited from such facilities for a total value exceeding Rs 1 billion. In July 2011, a special scheme to support small power producers was successfully implemented.

Environmental and social policy

From another perspective, in line with its own philosophy and following commitments taken with international financial partners, the MCB has developed an Environmental and Social Policy, which is being implemented since 30 April 2012 . The purpose of the latter is to set out the principles, policies, roles and responsibilities whereby the Bank should ensure that the social and environmental impacts of any specific project – i.e. one to which loans of an aggregate amount greater than or equal to USD 2 million and with a maturity of at least 24 months have been provided – are being identified and evaluated in a systematic manner. This should assist in adopting a more holistic approach to risk management, deepen relationships with stakeholders and increase opportunities in the international finance arena.

Environmental and Social PolicyPDF 288KB
At the same time, building on notable progress already made at both the strategic and operational levels to strengthen our state of readiness, the Bank has adopted the Equator Principles on 15 May 2012, which stand as a governing principle of the Environmental and Social Policy. Equator Principles relate to a voluntary and internationally-recognisable set of standards which are used by many financial institutions around the world for determining, appraising and managing the environmental and social risk in project financing.

Equator PrinciplesPDF 53KB

The main achievements so far

Here are the main achievements and landmarks since Initiative 175's inception in March 2009:
  • Production and broadcast on MBC 1 of "Eco TV", a daily 5 minutes programme showing the simple things that we should all do to protect our environment and reduce pollution as well as energy use.
  • Distribution of endemic plants with air-cleansing capacities to the staff
  • Production and broadcast on MBC 1 of "UnisVert", a series of 26 weekly mini documentaries depicting the ecological challenges facing Mauritius while inviting people to be more responsible.
  • Pricing of ATM balance enquiries, mini-statements and receipts to reduce unnecessary printing and litter
  • Launch of E-statements: customers can now receive their statements by email
  • Green Loan for corporates in collaboration with Agence Française de Développement
  • Green Loan for individuals wishing to install domestic photovoltaic systems for the production of electricity
  • Organization of "La Terre Vue Du Ciel", a Yann-Arthus Bertrand exhibition, at Caudan: 400 000 visitors
  • "Light" Housing loan scheme: a solar water heater offered to customers taking a loan in excess of Rs 1 million (2009)
  • "Home Sweet Loan": For each loan exceeding Rs 1 million, a gift voucher of Rs 30,000 was offered for investment in a SWH (April - June 2011)
  • 2% of Housing Loan amount in green products (2012 Housing Loan campaign)
  • 3% of Housing Loan amount in green products (2013 Housing Loan campaign)
  • Distribution of nearly 100,000 energy-saving lightbulbs to customers and local organzations
  • Sponsorship of the Moka-Flacq Environment Award
  • Production of the first Mauritius Green Directory ("Annuaire de l'Environnement")
  • Sponsorship of the Green Building conferences
  • Launch of in-house recycling scheme for paper 
  • Calculation of MCB Group's carbon footprint (Ongoing since 2011)
  • Induction course on “Sustainable Organisation and Responsible Employee” (since February 2011)
  • Recycling of uniforms in collaboration with Magic Fingers (January 2012)
  • Distribution of 50,000 reusable bags to MCB staff and clients (April 2012)
  • "Make a Wish primary school competition" (Every year since April 2012)
  • Launching of MCB Group's solar-powered Nissan Leaf (January 2013)
  • "Rainwater Harvesting Scheme" (February 2013)
  • Investment in an eco-digester to recycle St Jean canteen's organic waste into compost (May 2013)